President Barack Obama proposed a two-year freeze on Monday on the pay of federal workers and vowed to work with Republicans to cut the ballooning budget deficit.
Reuters reports that the pay freeze is part of an effort by Obama to push back against Republicans, who have labeled the president and his Democrats "big spenders" while taking aim at his policies such as an $814 billion stimulus package and health care reform.
The White House estimates the worker pay freeze would save about $2 billion in the current 2011 fiscal year and $28 billion over five years. It would require congressional approval, according to Reuters.
Obama said both Republicans and Democrats faced a challenge "to get federal spending under control and bring down the deficits that have been growing for most of the last decade."
But he warned that an overly abrupt reduction in federal spending could harm the fragile economic recovery.
"There's still a lot of pain out there and we can't afford to take any steps that might derail our recovery or our efforts to put Americans back to work and to make Main Street whole again," Obama said.
"So we can't put the brakes on too quickly," he said.